Wednesday, March 27, 2013

There's snowbroth and other exciting things happening.

That would be freshly melted snow - a wonderful word with origins in the 1590s.  It sounds so much better than...mud.  The fifth season.  But - snowbroth, mud, bring it ON!

As March creaks and rattles down to a close, there are lots of celebrations of which to take note:

My neighbor/lumberjack/lawnguy/handyman turns 78 on Thursday!  It's hard to believe, since he's in better shape than most 40 y/os I know - myself included.  Yes.  I am 40 again.  I'm baking him a GF pineapple upside down cake, which, I have been told, is his favorite.  I tend to view maraschino cherries with the same horror as I view Styrofoam, so, after much searching, I found some whiskey-soaked cherries instead.  I doubt if he'll mind.  Ah, but what to do with the leftovers?  hahahahahaha.

Sylvie's beautiful daughter has a birthday this weekend.  How is it possible to have four kids and still be a Babe?

Sage turns two on Friday.  I will have to think of something to bring when I visit on Saturday.  It is eerily quiet without those two little balls of fire.  This also reminds me to track down the breeder AGAIN and see if we can't finally get her paperwork straightened out.  I mean, really.

Cookie, my dear, large Pfefferneuse, turns 13 on Sunday.  Such a giant lump of love he is.  We believe in group celebrations at the LLF - so there will be treats for all!

Bernice, who will turn 13-ish in April (or thereabouts), is getting an orthopedic bed.  It is CUSHY - with a gel form mattress.  She is getting a little stiff (as am I, which is downright surprising for someone in their 40s again) and I thought it would be nice to give her a comfy space to call her own.  Of course, I hope she can fit on there with all the cats.  For some reason, the cats love her, and feel the need to sleep where she sleeps.  Especially Pfefferneuse, all 17 pounds of him.  Bernice always looks pained, but allows their snuggling.

I closed on and moved into my house seven years ago, March 31.  I remember that there were hundreds of tadpoles teeming in a verdant pool down the road.  I was blissfully unaware that a gravel pit had just opened.  My parents gave me a hand moving in - all three pieces of furniture.  I am still pinching myself.

It's Easter Sunday - there will be the inevitable egg hunt (a diabolical tradition started by my dad, now handed to my mom, who is equally diabolical.)  Let me just say, it ends there.  It will be fun this year, as my sister, her daughter and grandson will be joining us.  There's nothing like an egg hunt when you've got a squirt involved.  I am working feverishly on a knitted bunny (thank you, Mama Pea!) to be included in his basket.

With any luck, I will be able to squeeze in some seed-starting this weekend.  In between dying eggs, making a ribbon salad, and working on my floor tiles.  Of course, if the weather holds true to the forecast - I will be outside doing other things.  This is no lack of things needing done on the LLF!

Monday, March 25, 2013

Monday Musings.

While most of my days are angst-filled, I have noticed that I am having significant periods of non-angst-ness.  Of course, this could be due to a lot of different reasons - my brain has flat-lined due to continual winter; I have discovered lactium; I am beginning to open up to the possibility of letting the Universe take over.  I am going with the latter.   

Knowing full well that A would be arriving after 1P (there are no exact times for anything around here) to pick up the goaties for their vacation, I made a list of things to pack in their overnight bags.  And then did nothing about it until just before she arrived.  Granted, it wasn't a lot to pack - two bales of hay, a bag of their feed, their vitamins and minerals, their feed dishes.  And I didn't panic.  It was a different story, however, when it came time to load the two miscreants into A's van.  I felt like a bad parent.  All of her goats are sweet-tempered, friendly, obliging.  Mine were all:  GET AWAY FROM ME!!  RUN!!!  OMG, WE'RE GOING TO DIE!!!  We finally got them loaded and I followed her to the farm, where we got them tucked into their new/temporary digs.  While I was there, I got to see what was in store for me (and Sage, of course):

Girl (left) and boy (right)

Close up of girl

Chickie and Sage checking out their guest room.
Just as I got home and started getting ready to clean the house for my sister's arrival, I got an email from Marianne - our chicks that were due sometime this week, were in!  Apparently, the post office is always open!  She had to drive an hour or more to get them and, luckily for me, Melanie offered to drive mine down on her trip to the knitting group.  I ran around and got their brooder set up and then my sister arrived - an hour early.  Needless to say, not much got cleaned.   Angst?  Not at all.  I was all "I am the rock in the stream - letting it flow around me".   This had NOTHING to do with the fact that she and I shared a bottle of champagne (our tradition) shortly after her arrival.  Nothing whatsoever.

Slept like a rock, too.

Friday, March 22, 2013

If you believe that, lady, I have some oceanfront property in Iowa to sell you.

Every week (or so it seems), I suffer through the endless customer service loop with my trash collecting service.  Although, the term trash 'collecting' seems to be an oxymoron, in this case.  And every week there is some excuse as to why my trash was not picked up on its scheduled date.  This morning I just opened the conversation with, "So, what's this week's excuse?"  Don't you think that the job description for customer service reps should require a sense of humor?  Every week, I call them, they give me assurances, they lie.

I was all het-up because I pay for this expensive service so that I can recycle more.  As I sat stewing on the endless phone loop, I had one of those head-slapping moments.  Oh, DUH!  If I didn't bring the stuff (packaging) into the house in the first place, I wouldn't have to recycle it.  I generate so little trash that, by a little brain power (little being the operative word), I bet it would only cost me $4 a month to dispose of what little I have.  I cancelled the service.

On Wednesday, while celebrating the arrival of Spring by shoveling an additional four inches of snow (and ice), I was too cranky to just suck it up and do a thorough job on the back deck.  So I couldn't close the gate to the chicken yard.  Who cares, I thought.  They are just as sick of the snow as I am and will be hanging close to the coop.  I had forgotten that we DO get sun every once in a while, and it melted a nice path from coop to deck.  When I got home, I was greeted by a new meaning to Poop Deck (for all you sailors - being a daughter of two ex-Navy parents).  The dogs were thrilled - Poop-cicles!

This weekend, Sage and Chickie go to the midwife's farm.  That's pretty darn exciting for all of us, although I will miss their little chunky selves every morning, Sage screaming that she's starving, Chickie bouncing sideways.  But I will have a chance to do some much-needed repairs and barn-cleaning.

I had decided to join a knitting group on Sunday evenings and then realized that this Sunday, my sister will be staying over on her way to spend a few days with our parents.  Then next Sunday is Easter.  Sigh.  And I am in need of some moral support, as I am determined to restart my cardigan.

On my last unscheduled day off, I reworked part of my office - forgetting, of course, that it is Bernie's little lair.  She had that "what fresh hell are you putting me through?" look all day, and it took a couple of days for her to realize that it was still a safe zone.  I have learned to do changes in stages and let her get used to each one before proceeding.  Dogs rule.

Next week, my little batch of replacement layer chicks will arrive.  Then it will officially be Spring.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

What's wrong with this picture?



Monday, March 18, 2013

(Erratic) Monday Musings.

Do dark chocolate-covered Raisinets count as fruit - with benefits?

There are three times as many "Roads" as "Drives", four times as many "Roads" as "Avenues", and only a very few "Lanes" on my way to work.  Obviously, it is a mind-numbing process, this commute.

A Facebook "friend" shot me a little message taking aim at something I "liked".  This friend knew me when I was a senior in high school, and has not known me since.  This got me thinking about how much our thinking can change over the years, as life's path goes through its twists and turns, highs and lows.  I wonder if it's the norm to feel differently about things about which you were once so passionate.  Then, again, just because one "likes" something on FB, it is seldom as cut and dried as all that.   

As I was putting together St. Patty's Day dinner, I was listening to the conversation of the dinner guests in the adjoining living room.  Phrases like, "I should have tried it when I was younger," and "How bad can it be?", and "I'd be like Bill - I wouldn't inhale", came wafting through the doorway.  The assemblage, ranging in age from 78 to 91, were discussing marijuana.  Hoot!  Of course, every so often, one of the wisecrackers would shout toward the kitchen; something like "So - youngster in the kitchen - is it better in a brownie?"  Whereby, all the rest shouted, "Everything's better with chocolate!"  It's amazing how much fun you can have with octo-nonogenerians.  Plus, you get to be the Youngster!

While waiting at the junction of my road (er, Hollow) and the main road, heading toward getting Lulabelle out of hock this morning, I glanced to my left and saw an owl!  It was on the ground, moving its head around, blinking its beautiful eyes. I frantically glanced around to see if there was a blanket or some other something I could toss on it and check it for injuries, but I was in my dad's pickup and he's not geared for these types of emergencies.  So I did the next best thing - I called Kay!  I called her after waiting until it was closer to 9A, that is.  It is so amazing to me that she knows so much about so many things.  She drove over and hunted for the owl (keeping me updated via cellphone), who had flown a little ways up in a tree.  When she went near it, it flew away - without any evidence of injury, according to Kay.  I was greatly relieved.  Have I mentioned how much I love Kay?  She is my frister, for sure.   I was feeling quite happy about the end of that little chapter of my morning, until another friend pointed out that, according to American Indian legend, that seeing an owl during the day is a harbinger of death.  Holey crap!  And I still have to drive home before our next last bad winter storm.

I'm sure the left and right sides of my brain will wrestle with that little nugget of information all day.


Friday, March 15, 2013


Thank goodness it's FINALLY Friday!  I have been wishing people a good weekend for the last two days.  Today I mean it!  Lots in store for the weekend, oddly enough... :)

Lulabelle goes into the shop early tomorrow morning - it's been a rough week and we are hanging on by our fingernails.  I have so many things crossed on my way to/from work, it's a wonder I can drive.  I'm borrowing Dad's pickup for the weekend and will go up and get Lulabelle out of hock Monday morning.

While I have the truck, I am taking advantage of a fencing sale and picking up (figuratively speaking, of course - I plan on standing and looking helpless until some burly guy loads it in my truck) a roll of 48x100 welded wire fence so I can kid-proof the goat's pasture and all the gates.  I am assuming that Sage's offspring will be the size of a small Labrador puppy (or two).

Someone is interested in buying my floor loom (woot!) and will be coming Sunday morning to look at it and - hopefully - buy it and take it home.  That goes straight into the Lulabelle Fund!  That also means that I have to dust the sucker and get it in viewing mode.

Parental units are having an overnight - which is always fun!  My dad (all 90.5 years of him) usually lasts only  five minutes before he's looking for something to do.  I usually arm him with my broom and off he goes to clean the deck.  He's amazing.  I've invited their best friends (and my neighbors) over for St. Patty's Day dinner on Sunday, along with another neighbor.  They all sit and chatter away while I fix dinner.  It will be an early meal, so I will still have time to wind down before the dreaded Sunday Night.

I've been experimenting with GF baking and have had some success.  (I hope you don't expect pictures - let's all just use our imaginations!!!)  I made an applesauce spice cake with dark raisins (picture: 8" square green Bennington Potters baking dish, filled with aromatic, dark brown cake, speckled with spices and dotted with raisins) that fooled even the barn guys.  I am going to attempt a GF Irish Soda Bread, and will be making a most delicious maple walnut tart (GF version) that I found here.   Aside:  I just started following her blog - each post is like a little piece of art.  One look at her photograph of baked fennel and I became Pavlov's dog.  That's on my to-make list as well.  I have to say that the breakthrough is due to my discovery of GF Mama's Almond Flour Blend and Coconut Flour Blend.  Heaven!  Since I don't bake often any more, it's affordable.  Because, as we of the GF following know, GF = Go Fish in your pockets for cash!  Cha-ching!!

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Tugboat Annie

Or should that be, Steamboat Sage?  I tried to get a rear shot, but she kept turning with me.  I think you can get the gist of her 'condition' from this shot, feeble as it may be.  She is doing well, but I am sure that she'll be happy when it's over.  Of course, this being her first time, she probably has no idea what's in store.  A bundle or two of cuteness, that's what!  Due date - 4/24/13.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Monday Musings.

I am both frustrated and relieved that my computer is almost terminal.  I tend to have a love/hate relationship with all things electronic - love that my computer allows me to reach out into the blogosphere where all you wonderful people are.  Hate that it devours so much of my time (if I let it) - and that it is so, well, one dimensional.  I find that the internet crowds out any chance I may have of deeper thinking.  It's like instant gratification and, while I admit to being a fan of IG, it reminds me of cheeze doodles.  You crunch into one and, WHAM!  There's that intense cheezy flavor.  For a second.  Then there's nothing but orange dust and air.  Hmm.  Is that why it's so important to shovel hundreds of them into your maw?  Personally speaking, of course...

Then there is my beloved Lulabelle.  That would be my ten-year-old-this-year Ford Focus wagon with 210,000+ miles on her little chassis.  Driving from the feed store to VT this weekend, I saw that the Check Engine light had winked on.  Not good.  So I drove her straight to my mechanic, where she was hooked up to the computer for diagnostics.  I waited a tense 45 minutes (thank goodness for tote-able knitting projects) for the diagnosis.  Seems it has to do with air intake.  There's a leak(s) somewhere - gasket?  manifold?  Whatever the problem, there is a great deal of Cha-CHING involved.  They reset the light for me and we are taking a wait-and-see approach.  Have I mentioned that I love my mechanic?  I do.  Nicest guy ever, hands down.

However, the Universe has tucked me under her wing this week.  I sold my old riding mower, as I inherited my dad's.  And it should be almost enough to cover Lulabelle's recovery.  Life is interesting in that way.  I was very happy to notice that I did not do my usually hand-wringing and thinking it was the EOTWAIKI (end of the world as I know it).  I was calm.  I was allowing myself to feel that all would be well.  What a nice change.

So, my dearies, there may be a lack of blogging on my part for a while.  It is not because I have taken a long walk off a short pier.  It's more of an access thing.  I will sneak some blogging in, here and there, until I resolve my computer dilemma.  New vs. more patchwork.  I will pop up in your comments, just to let you know I'm still around.

Thursday, March 7, 2013


Setting the stage:  Me, after an hour-long wait, prone in the dentist's chair; the entire right side of my face - from below my eye to my shoulder -  numb; a myriad of equipment being put in/taken out of my mouth, along with vacuuming and swabbing.  (TMI!!!)

Dentist:  "You are doing so well!  You'll be sure to tell me if something is uncomfortable, right?"

Me:  "AAAAH-AH-AAAAH" (Are you freaking kidding?  With this load of Novocaine that's been stewing in my jaw and environs for the past half hour?  I'll be lucky if I can eat by tomorrow.)

Dentist:  "Ah, yes.  This is a very large amount of filling we are doing.  Let's take a picture of this, Loretta/Jeanette/Robin, so that we can show her some options."

Me:  "AAAAH-AH-AAAAH" ("Her?"  Am I just a piece of cordwood here?)

Dentist:  "I would really recommend a little bridge here - that would be much better than just a total covering, which we will need, no matter what else we decide."

Me:  "AAAAH-AH-AAAAH" ("We?"  "Little" bridge?  Fine with me if YOU pay for it.)

I braved the snow storm this morning and left at the crap of dawn to get to the dentist - ignoring their offer to reschedule my appointment for tomorrow.  I never, EVER, go to the dentist on Friday.  And this is even a dentist I like! 

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Fickle Farch

Say that fast, five times.  I promise that this is the LAST reference to Farch I will make.  This year.  I plan to heavily medicate myself so that I can float on to April without a backwards glance.

On the plus side, the temps are going up into the low 40s today, with some puny sun.  That should take care of some of the snow.  I have been going around, picking up various bits of flotsam that were blown through the yard by the last bit of weather 'change' - meaning the gale force winds that seem to be the new normal every time the weather changes.  Of course, the trash guy never made it to pick up the trash (I am back to transporting my own at the end of this month - recycling be damned), so my recycling bin was blown over.  I am sure you can imagine the rest.  The bottom of my deck rail bird feeder also disappeared - it may be in the next county.  It has been a punishing winter.

At an earlier date (obvious from the lack of ice-crusted snow) I managed to get a picture of "my" male Cardinal with one of the many Juncos that visit the feeder.  Thanks to the dagnabbit squirrels, I will have to rebuild most of the feeder, as they gnawed the side rails.  Bloody vermin.  I am trying to use my new camera more often, but - since it has snowed almost every single day - I don't dare take it outside.  Once we get a break in the weather - and if that break happens when I am home and not in my office, watching it sadly from the inside out - I will inundate you with pictures!  I will.  You'll beg for mercy.

*A little disclaimer - the Seeds of the Month thingy on the side is, indeed, an ad.  Of sorts.  However, I am a member because I LOVE the idea of it and, if you click on that button and end up joining, it will benefit me.  Just wanted to be upfront and honest with y'all.

Monday, March 4, 2013

Monday Musings.

Why, oh, why is it that I often winge about things that I hope for?  Let's take Farch, for example.  How many times did I go on (and on) about where for art Farch?  Well, it art here and I am already wishing it away.  Come on, March!  Come on April!  I really do think I would dislike it less if I didn't have to drive an hour in the dark, with the snow pelting against my windshield over dark, twisty roads.  Five days a week.  And I would like it more if there could be just the weensiest bit of sun every day or so.  All weekend long, it was grey, raw, windy and spitting snow.  Just enough snow to really irritate you (me).

After coming "this" close to wrenching a gate off its baling twine hinges (can we say "Hillbilly"?) after it was frozen yet again, I managed to grit my teeth and finish the barest essentials of morning chores and stagger into the house.  I tackled more of the living room redo and felt much better.  I painted the last blue wall and put down more tile.  And reassured Bernie on an hourly basis. 

And made plans for visitors in April!  Woot!  I am hoping they have the foresight not to eat for three days before arriving, because I pulled out all the recipes I've been wanting to try - and they will be my Guinea pigs!  Er, tasters.  I will save an entire blog about their visit - it's just so exciting! 

I have been working out in my mind (let's see how long I can retain it) what I need to do to the goat barn and environs.  While Sage and Chickie are lounging at the midwife's farm, I plan on taking advantage of their brief absence to redo their fencing, reinforce the barn and clean it out.  You know how that works - you slapdash something together because you don't have time to create something that makes sense; then you're stuck with it because it's in use and you have no Plan B.  You don't know how that works?  Well, it doesn't really work at all.  I tend to go by the seat-of-the-pants plan, no matter how good my intentions.  I have learned to embrace the Imperfect Me.  I am nothing, if not flexible. 

I am thinking about doing a real homesteady giveaway contest - the closest guess as to the actual number of 5 gallon buckets of llama beans I will have to shovel up once the snow melts, wins....something.  I am guessing, conservatively, anywhere between 20 and 50.  It's sort of like guessing how many jelly beans are in the gallon jar at the hardware store.  Sort of like that.  Just stinkier.  What do you think?  Anyone game?

Friday, March 1, 2013

Darn it.

As I sat in the early morning hours, darning my sock(s), I was wondering how many people actually bother to darn holes any more.  Do they just throw things out and buy new?  Since I have the terrible (or not so) habit of picturing the journey to the landfill of almost everything I throw out, I darn.  It also helps that I am a sock-knitter.  After you've gone through the process a few times, you'll be darned (haha) if you'll toss a handknit sock in the trash.

The large egg is a find from a local estate sale business.

About five years ago, I found this wonderful darning box, complete with darning threads and a darning egg, on eBay.  I think I paid more to ship it than I did to buy it.  I imagine it was part of someone's estate - just more 'junk' that had to be cleaned out and gotten rid of by disinterested relatives.  I am thankful that they decided to try and make some money from of it, rather than chucking it in the dreaded dumpster. 

I don't know that I would win any blue ribbons for my darning, but it does the job and I can get a lot of mileage out of socks, mittens and gloves!